Friday, January 15, 2021

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Israel goes back to the future
Then there are the Palestinians. In September 2000, the Palestinians launched a massive terror onslaught against Israel which lasted for four years. Every day, Israelis were subjected to acts of murderous terrorism that ranged from roadside stonings, shootings and bombings to mass shootings to suicide bombings, to mortar and missile assaults.

The Palestinians launched their terror war after rejecting Israel's offer of peace and statehood at the Camp David Peace Summit in July 2000. Yet in 2001, Burns was instrumental in convincing then-president Bush to become the first president to support Palestinian statehood.

Burns' support for the Palestinians is widely shared among members of Biden's incoming team. On Wednesday, Biden announced he is appointing Obama's former UN ambassador Samantha Power to serve as administrator of USAID.

Power played a central role in conceiving and passing UN Security Council Resolution 2334 in December 2016 which referred to Israeli communities and installations beyond the 1949 armistice lines in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria as "a flagrant violation of international law." As USAID administrator, Power will be responsible for providing US financial support to the endemically corrupt and terror-supporting Palestinian Authority and to international organizations that facilitate Hamas's terror regime in Gaza.

According to sources in contact with Biden's transition team, Biden intends to appoint Obama's ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro to oversee the Abraham Accords. The sources raised the concern that Biden's goal in making the appointment is to restore the Palestinian veto over the normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states. Shapiro, who took the unprecedented step of remaining in Israel and active in public affairs after he left office, is expected to remain in Israel to take on this function.

In anticipation of the incoming administration's restoration of Obama's policies towards Israel and the Palestinians, on Tuesday, the foreign ministers of Germany, France Britain, Egypt, and Jordan called on the Biden and his team to lead negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians towards the so-called "two-state solution," replete with an Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines. The foreign ministers also called on Israel "to completely end all settlement activities including in East Jerusalem."

The leftist political group J Street issued a call for Biden to officially abandon the Trump administration's peace plan. It also asked the new administration to end scientific cooperation with Israeli institutions located beyond the 1949 armistice lines, to open a diplomatic legation in Jerusalem to serve the Palestinians, and to pledge to open a US embassy to "Palestine" in Israel's capital upon the conclusion of a peace deal.

Efforts by Biden's supporters to blot out the actions and achievements of the outgoing administration extend to the fight against anti-Semitism. One of the most significant achievements that Israel and Diaspora Jewry have accomplished in recent years in the fight against anti-Semitism has been the adoption by governments throughout the world of the definition of anti-Semitism conceived by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
The IHRA: A Reply to the Guardian Letter signed by Sir Stephen Sedley et al.
On 7 January 2021 The Guardian published a letter from eight lawyers who claimed that the IHRA definition of antisemitism, which the UK government has instructed UK universities to adopt, undermines free expression. The signatories also claimed that examples included in the IHRA definition have been ‘widely used to suppress or avoid criticism of the state of Israel.’ Dave Rich, Director of Policy at the Community Security Trust and a leading expert on left-wing antisemitism, argues that the letter rests on a ‘misrepresentation of what the definition says and does, ‘unevidenced claims’ about its impact, and confusions about its legal status and power. The IHRA definition, he contends, offers universities ‘a modest, sensible and practical guide to antisemitism that would help Jewish students to play a full part in campus life’.

The campaign against the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism has been running for long enough that it is now possible to identify its common themes. These include repeated misrepresentation of what the definition does, and does not, say about Israel and antisemitism; unevidenced claims about the definition’s alleged impact on free speech; confusion of its legal status and power; and an appeal to authority by quoting others from within this same campaign.

A letter in last week’s Guardian (where else?), signed by eight experienced lawyers, is a helpful example of how this works. It opens with the claim that, ‘The legally entrenched right to free expression is being undermined by an internally incoherent “non-legally binding working definition” of antisemitism.’ The letter then cites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Education Act 1986 before noting that the IHRA definition ‘has no legislative or other authority in international or domestic law.’

Given that this is the case, it is hard to see how a non-legal definition with no legal authority could undermine legally-guaranteed rights to free expression and academic freedom. Most universities understand this, even if these eight lawyers don’t: the University of Oxford, in announcing its recent adoption of the IHRA definition, stated that, ‘The IHRA definition does not affect the legal definition of racial discrimination, so does not change our approach to meeting our legal duties and responsibilities.’

There are other legal restrictions on free expression which these lawyers did not mention in their letter, including the Public Order Act, the Equality Act, the Protection from Harassment Act, the Malicious Communications Act and so on. These all limit free speech, including at universities, but the letter’s signatories do not seem troubled by this. Instead, a definition that even they concede is ‘non-legally binding’ is, apparently, such a grave threat to free expression that it is worth a letter to the Guardian. Why is this the case?
In the Guardian, Antisemites are Authorities on Antisemitism
Signers of the Guardian letter had previously accused Jews of dual loyalty; of using their control over the media and banks to manipulate others; of “whining” about the Holocaust and pedaling “fairy tales” about the Final Solution; and of being part of a “pampered religion.” They had celebrated terrorists who targeted and murdered innocent Jewish civilians. And they had excused those responsible for vile antisemitism, including the claim that Jews use Christian blood in their rituals, Holocaust denial, and calls to “kill the Jews.”

ANTISEMITISM
Subhi Hadidi: Jews forever disloyal to home countries
One co-signer, Subhi Hadidi, justified the persecution of Jews living in the Arab world by insisting their expulsion underscored a “higher truth”: that Jews are disloyal and insular.

In the London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi, Hadidi took issue with historian Geoffrey Alderman’s criticism of the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab lands. It seems Alderman placed blame on the wrong side. The expulsions, Hadidi wrote, were “a textbook case of a greater truth: the failure of most Jewish communities to assimilate into any national culture, their unwillingness to meet a high or sufficient standard of citizenship sense and participation in society, and raising [their] loyalty to Israel, even before it was born, above all loyalties.”

The charge of dual loyalties is something of a habit for Hadidi. After the US ambassador to Israel criticized Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas for saying the Holocaust was provoked by the Jewish role in society — “usury and banking and such” —Hadidi insisted the real reason for the ambassador’s criticism was that the he was “a Jew before he is an American.”

He has also cast Judaism in general as being pampered — “a very spoiled [religion] on a global scale.”

Despite this history of flagrant antisemitism, the Guardian felt it was appropriate for him to instruct readers on what is and isn’t appropriate language about Jews.

Mohamed Alyahyai: “Jewish media machine” abuses Holocaust
Hadidi is hardly the only hen-house guard that looks suspiciously foxy.

Mohamed Alyahyai, another co-signer of the letter, has blamed the “Jewish media machine” for planting guilt in European minds about the Holocaust.

Ali Fakhrou: Jewish “whining” about Holocaust includes lies, fairy tales, exaggerations
Ali Fakhrou, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, has taken such arguments even farther. If his co-signer Hadidi insisted the persecution of Jews in the Arab world is the fault of the Jews themselves, Fakhrou flatly denied any such mistreatment occurred, writing in al-Quds al-Arabi of a “false Zionist claim that the Arab Jews were persecuted.”

And just as co-signer Alyahyai charged the Jews with running the media and misusing the Holocaust, so too did Fakhrou, who expanded on the argument by raising doubts about Holocaust historiography.


Melanie Phillips: Inoculation, incompetence and intolerable exceptionalism
The sustained nature of the media vaccine libel requires some explanation. After all, unlike previous blood-libels against Israel over its behaviour during military operations to deter Palestinian attacks, the facts about the vaccine and the Palestinian Arabs are easily ascertainable. So why is the media persisting with this? I suggest three reasons.

First, having been deprived of opportunities to demonise Israel because the Palestinian Arabs are no longer the story in the Middle East and there haven’t been any wars recently to facilitate the usual lies about Israeli “atrocities”, the media spotted in the vaccine story an opening at last for malicious attack and now won’t relinquish the opportunity.

Second, to accept that the Palestinian Arabs are actually responsible for administering their own health care would knock a big hole in the central falsehood that Israel is an “occupying” and oppressive force.

Third, the vaccine libel possesses a key characteristic of antisemitism through the ages: that what drives antisemites absolutely wild with pathological jealousy is the evidence of Jewish exceptionalism.

What such people find utterly unsupportable is the idea that the Jews are special in any way. This taps into the prejudice that the Jews are “chosen”, which Jew-haters interpret not as chosen for a particular moral burden, which is actually the case, but exceptionally privileged.

This pathology is so twisted that such people are even jealous of the exceptional nature of Jewish suffering, which provokes the ludicrous complaint that the Jews “suck up all the victimhood so there’s none left for the rest of us”.

So for the Jew-hater, the evidence of exceptional Jewish achievement — worse still, exceptional moral achievement — has to be denied, repudiated or twisted into its opposite.


Civil Rights Hero Bayard Rustin
“Since Israel is a democratic state surrounded by essentially undemocratic states which have sworn her destruction, those interested in democracy everywhere must support Israel’s existence.” This statement might have been written by any number of American candidates for political office, Republican or Democrat. But actually, it was uttered 50 years ago by a prominent African American civil rights icon, Bayard Rustin.

Rustin’s public advocacy for Israel was a constant in his career, but it emerged more forcefully in response to the Black Power movement of the 1960s. Some of that movement’s leaders embraced the Palestinian cause and declared Israel a pariah state. Rustin, one of the pioneers of the struggle for civil rights, condemned this move and hostility to Jews and Israel, especially as manifested in the Nation of Islam and in the Black Panthers. He met calls for African American separatism with a call for the renewal of the struggle for integration and full equality. Black separatism, he felt, was an expression of despair and disengagement. It was the abandonment of the struggle; not, as claimed, its intensification. And alienating Jewish supporters of the struggle would, in the end, hurt the cause.

Rustin was the grandchild of slaves. His paternal grandfather, Janifer Rustin, migrated in the 1880s from the South to Pennsylvania. He married there, and he and his wife, Julia, came under the influence of the Quakers. Their grandson Bayard was born in 1912. Bible lessons, led by his grandmother, were Bayard’s earliest educational experience. As a child Rustin was taught to respect all religions and to sympathize with the oppressed. “My grandmother,” Rustin recalled in his later years, “was thoroughly convinced that when it came to matters of the liberation of black people, we had much more to learn from the Jewish experience than we had to learn out of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

Rustin’s pacifism sprang from his upbringing, and in his early 20s, he declared himself a Quaker. At Wilberforce University, the first of the historically Black colleges, Bayard focused on the study of classical music. He proved to be a talented singer, an avocation he returned to many times in his life. He used his musical talents in political struggles and sang at many meetings and marches. And over his lifetime, he recorded three albums of African American songs. In 1937 Rustin moved to New York City, where he took an apartment in Harlem.
PodCast: Ritchie Torres vows to prevent the ‘Corbynization’ of progressive politics
Freshman Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) cautioned about the rise of antisemitism in progressive politics during a wide-ranging conversation in the inaugural episode of Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast,” hosted by Rich Goldberg and Jarrod Bernstein.

Torres, who describes himself as “the embodiment of a pro-Israel progressive,” said he is mindful of anti-Israel elements within the Democratic Party that have the ability to turn antisemitic. “We have an obligation to combat antisemitism no matter where it emerges, whether it’s from the right, from the left. It has to be fought at every turn and in every form,” he said.

“My concern is that the pro-BDS left could be to the Democratic Party in American politics what Jeremy Corbyn has been to the Labour Party in British politics,” Torres cautioned. “It only takes a few demagogues to pump antisemitic poison into the bloodstream of a political party. And so I see it as my mission to resist the Jeremy Corbynization of progressive politics in the United States.”

Torres, a freshman representing New York’s 15th congressional district, addressed his hard-fought primary victory, which pitted him against a diverse group of Democratic candidates, from the conservative Rubén Díaz, Sr. to Democratic socialist Samelys López, who had the backing of high-profile progressive leaders and groups.


Mondaire Jones of New York seeks to call out anti-Semitism ‘wherever it exists’
Mondaire Jones made history on Nov. 3 as one of the first two openly gay black people elected to Congress by defeating four other candidates, including Republican Maureen Schulman, receiving 59.3 percent of the vote in New York’s 17th Congressional District to succeed retiring longtime Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey, a pro-Israel icon.

Jones, 33, worked in the U.S. Department of Justice during the Obama administration and has worked as a lawyer in other parts of the public sector.

JNS talked with Jones by phone on Dec. 10. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: What’s your overall stance on the U.S.-Israel relationship?

A: My stance is that the United States should continue to be a close ally of and partner to Israel. One that works in earnest to achieve a two-state solution [with the Palestinians], so that we can get lasting peace and security in the region and, of course, ensure that everyone is able to live with dignity.

Q: What role do you see Israel playing in your district?

A: I’m always careful not to conflate what is happening … there is great diversity within the Jewish community, and there are a number of people in my district who care very deeply about the State of Israel and its security, and the ability of its residents to thrive. (h/t Jewess)
Man arrested after swastikas spray-painted on doors of Montreal synagogue
One of Montreal’s largest synagogues was found with its doors spray-painted with large swastikas Wednesday, and a synagogue guard played a role in arresting the man suspected of the vandalism.

The man who was apprehended reportedly brought a canister of gasoline to Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, a 160-year-old Modern Orthodox synagogue that is known internationally for nurturing, and burying, the legendary singer and poet Leonard Cohen.

Police were summoned to the scene at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and arrested a 28-year-old man they said would be evaluated for mental health problems, according to local news reports.

Canadian Jewish groups decried the vandalism, with Rabbi Reuben Poupko of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs calling it “vile” and B’nai Brith Canada’s CEO Michael Mostyn calling it “a jarring reminder of the constant need for vigilance in protecting our Jewish communal institutions.”

The synagogue, like others in Montreal, is currently closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That was the case as well in May, when vandals ransacked a different Montreal Orthodox synagogue, destroying its Torah scrolls in the process.


Top Biden civil rights nominee erred in inviting antisemitic author
Biden announced his choice of Clarke on Monday, which earned praise from the Anti-Defamation League.

The following day Tucker Carlson, a Fox News Channel host, uncovered 1994 stories in the Harvard Crimson about the Martin controversy. Subsequently, statements from liberal Jewish groups backing Clarke were more pointed in rejecting the bid to stigmatize her with actions she took as a student.

“This week, Kristen Clarke acknowledged she made a mistake when, as a student at Harvard, she gave a professor who promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories a platform,” Bend the Arc: Jewish Action said Thursday on Twitter. “She unequivocally denounces antisemitism — and acts upon that commitment in fighting religious discrimination.”

Also praising Clarke on Thursday for her work combatting antisemitism were the National Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, and Joel Rubin, the American Jewish Congress executive director.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, who directs T’ruah, a rabbinical human rights group, said in an interview that Clarke’s statement this week was a “model of teshuvah,” or repentance, and derided those on the right who would stigmatize someone for something they said as a teenager.

Some of Carlson’s attacks on Clarke include remarks by Clarke, ripped from context, about white supremacy during her Harvard years, when she contrasted it with black supremacy.

“It’s not accidental that people on the right are specifically going after women of color and trying to dig up anything from their past even if it’s something that happened when they’re 19,” Jacobs said.


Omar, Tlaib Support Capitol Riots After Learning They’re Like Kristallnacht (satire)
While last week’s attack on the US Capitol has drawn widespread bipartisan condemnation, two prominent Democrats now say they support the riots after hearing that they are similar to Kristallnacht, a 1938 pogrom against Jews in Nazi Germany.

Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, both members of a far-Left democratic faction known as The Squad, have endorsed the storming of the Capitol after initially calling for President Trump’s impeachment over the attack, which left at least five people dead. Their position changed after actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger compared the event to Kristallnacht in a viral video earlier this week.

“At first I was against the insurrection at the Capitol, because they were trying to kill us, they were Trump supporters and worst of all, most of them were white,” Omar said. “But if it really was like Kristallnacht, then things are about to get really good.”

Tlaib added that she opposed the Capitol riots initially but that her opposition softened when she saw shirts reading “Camp Auschwitz” and “6MWE,” an acronym for “six million wasn’t enough,” a reference to Jews killed during the Holocaust.
BBC continues to omit context to recurrent story
The final item in the January 11th afternoon edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ concerned the latest chapter in a story the BBC has been covering for nearly five years.

Presenter Razia Iqbal introduced her interview (from 49:00 here) with Father Francesco Patton, the Custos of the Holy Land, with an inaccurate claim:
Iqbal: “For more than five decades the site where Jesus is thought to have been baptized was inaccessible because it was mined heavily during the Six Day War between Israel and Arab nations. That site has been successfully cleared of mines now and is once again a shrine and a place of prayer.”

The thousands of landmines that were cleared from the area (which had previously been under Jordanian occupation) were not laid “during” the Six Day War but after it.
“Following the 1967 War, a War of Attrition began on the eastern front. At a meeting in Damascus, on June 23, 1967, headed by Yasser Arafat, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leadership decided to continue the armed struggle against Israel by moving all organizations’ headquarters into the occupied territories. This resolution opened a new front in the Jordan Valley, followed by armed terror squads crossing the Jordan River and the Jordan Valley on their way to the eastern mountains of Samaria. The purpose of these infiltrations was to stir up the Palestinians in the West Bank into a popular rebellion or disobedience, to supply them with weapons and to prepare an effective leadership to initiate and execute terror operations in the future.”

In at least four previous reports published or aired since May 2016 the BBC has similarly failed to provide its audiences with an accurate account of when and why the mines were laid at Qasr al Yahud:


The Associated Press Ignores B’Tselem’s Controversial History and Foreign Funding; Amplifies “Apartheid” Smear
On Tuesday morning, an EU-funded NGO, B’Tselem, published a report titled, “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid.” (“Leading human rights group calls Israel an ‘apartheid’ state,” by Joseph Krauss, January 12, 2021.)

The invocation by B’Tselem of the term “supremacy” seems designed to latch on to trends in American politics. In fact, however, the language of “Jewish supremacy” recalls the title of David Duke’s 2004 book “Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening on the Jewish Question.” Although the phrase “Jewish supremacy” should have raised red flags everywhere, many mainstream news organizations published articles amplifying the group’s claims. Among those was the Associated Press – though the newswire did at least seem to know better than to repeat the phrase itself.

Instead of questioning why a group would employ such terminology, the AP reporter refers to B’Tselem as “a respected Israeli organization.” But, as CAMERA has pointed out before, in 2011, a B’Tselem photographer staged a scene that was passed on to an Israeli journalist falsely as a portrayal of Israeli soldiers treating a Palestinian child harshly. And in 2014, B’Tselem was forced to admit – after initial denials – that it was employing a Holocaust denier. Is this what the AP thinks of as “respected”?

Referring to B’Tselem simply as “Israeli” also conceals important information. NGO Monitor reports that, “based on financial information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, in accordance with the Israeli NGO Transparency Law, B’Tselem received NIS 46,258,659 [about $14.6M] from foreign [i.e., non-Israeli] governmental bodies in 2012-2020.” NGO Monitor further reveals that between 2012 and 2016, such foreign donations comprised almost two thirds of B’Tselem’s budget. While the group operates in Israel and employs Israelis, it could not operate as it does without support from outside the country.
French Court Sentences ‘I Don’t Deliver to Jews’ Courier to Jail Term, Deportation
A courier working for food delivery app Deliveroo has been jailed by a French court for four months for discrimination, after he refused to collect orders from two kosher restaurants in the city of Strasbourg.

The court’s decision came after the owners of the establishments filed a complaint against the courier, who has not been named. A lawyer for the restaurateurs explained that last weekend, the restaurants had prepared the orders received from Deliveroo only to be told by the courier, “I don’t deliver to Jews,” when he learned that the establishments served Israeli food.

“French law prohibits discrimination of any kind. You have to respect everyone in this country,” Judge Bertrand Gautier said at the trial.

He added that the courier, an Algerian who entered France on a tourist visa that has since expired, fraudulently used an associate’s Deliveroo codes and had his proceeds transferred to the account of a third person.

The suspect was also ordered to leave the country after serving his sentence, a deportation confirmed in a tweet by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

Speaking via an interpreter, the courier admitted to canceling the orders but denied saying he would not deliver to Jews.
Woman called ‘f**king Jew’ after asking Waitrose shopper to wear facemask
A Waitrose customer has accused the supermarket giant of failing to act after she was allegedly racially abused by an unmasked shopper at a branch in north London.

Emma Bloom, 46, from Hendon, said she confronted the person for not wearing a face covering and for jumping the queue into the Mill Hill East store.

The woman, who she said appeared to be in her 60s, had by this stage come closer to her.

“That’s when she turned around and goes ‘f**k off, you f**king Jew. Go back to where you came from, you c***.’”

“I was in shock. I couldn't believe it,” Ms Bloom said, adding that she asked customer services to intervene but was told to “walk away”.

Ms Bloom said she then dialled 999 but was told the incident was not a police matter.
Locals ski across graves at Buchenwald concentration camp
Skiers and tobogganers have been seen sledding and skiing at the memorial on the site of the Buchenwald concentration camp, some leaving tracks across graves, German news site Der Spiegel reported Thursday.

Memorial staff have increased security and called for locals to show respect and refrain from winter sports at the site of the camp, according to the German site RTL.

"Some of the tracks ended at the graves," Jens-Christian Wagner, the director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials foundation told Der Spiegel.

Wagner also said that the site's parking lot has been completely full, not with cars of visitors to the memorial but with the cars of winter athletes. While he expressed that it is understandable that the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing regulations have made many desperate for outdoor activities, Wagner asked that visitors in the area refrain from disturbing the peace and disrespecting the area, according to Der Spiegel.

The memorial fund asked on Twitter that locals "show respect for the victims."
Three Israeli start-ups appear in Forbes 2021 list
Three Israeli machine-learning start-up companies appear in Forbes 2021 list, according to data taken by Crunchbase, a platform known for finding business information about private and public companies.

One of the start-ups is Databand. Based in Tel Aviv, Databand provides platforms for machine learning development. They assist engineering teams to "scale production data infrastructure" reported by their website.

Another company included on the list, RideVision, was founded in 2018 by Uri Lavi and Lior Cohen. RideVision's purpose is to enhance motorcycle-safety by improving the strength of artificial intelligence and image-recognition technology, thus enhancing motorcyclists' awareness of their surroundings.

The third company, Augury, has the ability to determine mental health by combining real-time monitoring data from production machinery with AI and machine learning algorithms. Augury's machine health solutions create a "real-time, prescriptive source of truth for the health and performance of industrial assets," according to the company's website. It also records machine data, from temperature to vibration to determine if any potential malfunctions exist. The company has offices in New York and Haifa.
13 Israeli startups that made waves at 2021’s virtual CES in Las Vegas
CES, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, like so many other mainstays in our pandemic world, went virtual this year. The all-digital conference ran from January 11-14.

About two dozen Israeli companies were scattered around virtual CES this year. An additional 19 startups were featured in the Israel Export Institute’s Israeli Pavilion, a quarter of them from Israel’s booming mobility sector.

“We know it’s not the same as going to Vegas in person, but we still have amazing Israeli innovation,” says Noa Avrahami, director of digital media technologies, smart mobility and lifestyle for the Israel Export Institute.

Below we have highlighted nine of these startups as well as four Israeli companies that won CES awards this year – OrCam, Voiceitt, Vayyar Imaging and Tactile Mobility.
Hillel's Tech Corner: RightHear: Waze for the visually impaired
It is 2021 and while we may be seeing the light at the end of this COVID-19 tunnel, we are not quite there yet. In addition to this pandemic, the world seems to be getting increasingly unstable day by day in the political arena. There are so many big problems we are dealing with regularly, we are often distracted and forget about the people who are less fortunate than us and are having an even harder time than we are.

Have you ever stopped to think how dependent we’ve become on technology, and specifically location-based technology? I know that I rarely get into my car without activating Waze. Well, where does that leave the visually impaired and the blind? How do they find their way?

This question is amplified by the novel coronavirus pandemic because if an individual with partial or full blindness could ask for directions before COVID-19, now, due to social distancing, that has become much more challenging, if not impossible.

So whether it is in an outdoor setting, a mall (remember those?), or any other indoor setting, how has technology made the lives of the visually impaired easier and more manageable, if at all?

Well, I happen to have had a phone call this week with an old friend who works at Google and who has made accessibility in the technology sector her baby, but even she’ll agree, not enough has been done, and we can do better.


Sheldon Adelson laid to rest at small funeral on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives
Jewish-American billionaire Sheldon Adelson was buried Friday in a small funeral on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City, with only close family present.

Jewish families have buried their dead on the Mount of Olives since time immemorial, with an estimated 150,000 people interred there. In 2012, the authorities who run the cemetery said there is barely any room left.

The coffin carrying the pro-Israel and GOP megadonor arrived in Israel Thursday evening. It was draped in US and Israeli flags and was on display at Ben Gurion Airport, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Adelson’s wife, Miriam, and other family members paid their respects.

“He will be remembered as a great Jewish patriot, this is a great loss for the Jewish people,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by the Israel Hayom free daily, which Adelson controlled and operated with his wife, the paper’s publisher.

Adelson, who owned the Las Vegas Sands gambling empire, died from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Sands and his wife announced Tuesday.





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